Legislators Voted 16-1 To Override Veto Authorizing Paid Leave For Civil Service Union’s Regional President
New City, NY (Jan. 9, 2019) – In a bipartisan action, the Rockland County Legislature’s Government Operations Committee voted 6-0 Tuesday to formally object to the County Executive’s refusal to implement a resolution authorizing paid leave for the CSEA’s Regional President.
Legislators are calling on the County Executive to immediately rectify the situation and say they are ready to take the matter to court to enforce the resolution – both to make their jurisdiction clear and to support the union leader.
“The Administration’s failure to follow through on the resolution is a failure to implement a legal act of the Legislature in a timely manner,” Legislator Michael Grant said. “Furthermore, Mr. Riccaldo has worked diligently on behalf of his union and its members, including his opposition to the County Executive’s attempts to change health care coverage for county government retirees, and his treatment smacks of retaliation.”
Legislator Grant is chair of the Government Operations Committee.
William Riccaldo holds a county job title as coordinator of facilities maintenance in the Department of General Services. For 10 years, he was on a paid leave of absence to accommodate his service on behalf of the Civil Service Employees Association, or CSEA, the union representing the largest portion of county government workers. The union fully reimburses the county for his pay and benefits.
The Administration placed Riccaldo on unpaid leave in July, after the 10-year agreement authorizing his paid leave expired.
The Legislature voted 11-5 on Oct. 16 to establish a new agreement, which the County Executive subsequently vetoed.
The Legislature voted 16-1 on Dec. 4 to override the veto, but more than five weeks later, the Administration has failed to implement the resolution and reinstate Riccaldo.
“The County Executive has failed to implement the dictates of the resolution and place Mr. Riccaldo on paid leave as required – actions that ignore the doctrine of separation of powers and violate both New York State Law and the Rockland County Charter,” Legislator Alden Wolfe said.
Section C2.01 of the Rockland County Charter authorizes the Legislature to “exercise all powers of local legislation in relation to enacting, amending or rescinding local laws, legalizing acts or resolutions, which shall be binding upon the County Executive, the Legislature and all department heads.”
The Charter further requires the County Executive to execute and enforce the duly adopted resolutions and local laws of the County Legislature.
Additionally, Section 153(a) of New York State County Law states that “a power of the county shall be exercised through a local law or resolution duly adopted by the board (Legislature).”
The County Attorney has repeatedly expressed his legal opinion that purports to justify the County Executive’s actions, despite the blatant violation of law.
Legislator Grant said the Administration failed to notify the Legislature of its decision to delay or disregard an act of the Legislature, and it failed to pursue the legal means to challenge the Legislature, opting instead to simply not implement the resolution.
Since last night’s meeting when the Government Operations Committee proposed and adopted its resolution contemplating litigation unless the County Executive implements the resolution, the Legislature understands that the Administration is now seeking to reach a side agreement with the CSEA to give Riccaldo paid leave, instead of providing this leave in accordance to the Legislature’s resolution.
“If true, how did the Administration ‘magically’ resolve all the legal impediments it said prevented the paid leave to begin with,” Legislator Grant said. “The Legislature’s resolution needs to be implemented immediately.”